>the alt-quilter

>I can’t tell you how excited I was to open the New York Times Thursday Homes section and see a good portion of a page dedicated to a modern/contemporary quilter. Let me just say it’s a good thing newspapers put most of their content online these days, because the page was in black and white!

The article was really just a brief Q&A with a Seattle-based, metal-head quilter, Boo Davis. The Web version of the article refers to Boo as an “alt-quilter.” I wonder, though, if this is how she sees herself. I googled the phrase and found next to no results — interesting with all the hubbub in the quilt-blogger community over whether we’re “modern” quilters or “contemporary” quilters or something else entirely. I just call myself a “quliter.”

In the article, Boo Davis talks about the evolution of her book from a “hard-edged, metal-infused guide to quilting” to a book of patterns that “skew more cute than evil.” This girl quit her job, took out a loan and spent three months in her condo (which she calls her “hoven”) cranking out her book, “Dare to Be Square Quilting.” Despite the fact that the end product wasn’t what she set out to make, she says she’s happy with the results. On changing the attitude of the book, Boo says: “Craft books are a pretty expensive endeavor, and you want to make sure they will sell.” I think I might pick it up just for the cute owl quilt on the cover!

Among Boo’s other repeatable quotes from the article:

The appeal of quilts is that they are usable pieces of art. To me, when a quilt ceases to be cozy or if it’s so precious it has to be stuck on a wall, it’s not of interest anymore. Anything outside of classic cotton, that’s just crazy to me.

I just want to say that it’s extremely upsetting to see quilts and patchwork projects being sold for next to nothing on Etsy. You’ll see these elaborate, queen-size quilts for $300. That’s pennies an hour. So much of a person goes into a quilt. It’s an artistic labor of love that deserves respect. I think the quilt makers of the world need to rise up and start throwing elbows.

Sing it! I myself have never sold a quilt, but the thought has entered my mind, and then promptly leaves when it comes to pricing. To those of you who sell quilts, how do you determine price? Do you feel adequately compensated? And to my non-quilty friends: What would you expect to pay for a handmade quilt? Were you shocked that $300 for a queen-sized quilt is “pennies an hour,” as Boo points out above?

NOTE: This article is in the Aug. 12 edition. The New York Times gallery has more great photos of Boo’s quilts, as does her website.

ps: Thanks for the tips on my design delimma! I’m still mulling over the options and waiting for my test-cuts of sashing fabric to come in the mail, so keep the opinions/advice coming! Also, I’m in the midst of a blog redesign, so if you click over and things look crazy, don’t worry, it’s all part of the process!


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